More than a year later, some hospitals still don’t comply with Hospital Price Transparency Law

The hospital price transparency law requires hospitals to list the cash prices for procedures on their websites, requiring them to be easily accessible and allow patients to compare cash prices with insurance.

In a study released this week, JAMA analyzed 5,000 hospitals nationwide and found that just fewer than 6% were fully compliant with the rule.

Healthcare Economist with The Rand Corporation Christopher Whaley researched how much employer cost has increased over the years and says knowing the true cost of healthcare will impact everyone.

“That’s actually money that the employer could be spending on wages and other types of benefits and is instead paying on healthcare dollars,” said Whaley.

“We need the employer’s voice to say we care about this. We care about the quality of life and the affordability of life for our employees,” Chris Skisak with Houston Business Coalition on Health said.

Here are some websites that can be used to evaluate hospital prices, according to CBCH:

Clara Price

Health Sparq

Turqoise Health

The Leapfrog Group

“Make these types of transparency tools common,” said Skisak. “Once it’s common, we hope we can then have better negotiations with how we pay for healthcare.”

HCA Healthcare

Turquoise health finds HCA in our area is mostly compliant with listing prices.

Here is the link they sent KPRC: Pricing Transparency CMS Required File of Standard Charges | HCA Houston Healthcare

St. Luke’s

St. Luke’s requires you to input insurance to view insurance costs or select uninsured.

Here is the link to the St. Luke’s Health price transparency page: Price Transparency

Houston Methodist

“Houston Methodist is always transparent with patients about the cost of their care. A patient informs us of the insurance coverage, if any, they have and then we provide them with an estimate of amount due prior to any elective services. We posted a shopping tool for more than 300 of the most common services. You can find that information here. We are also working on providing additional pricing information to the public and expect to have it posted sometime this summer.”

Memorial Hermann

“Our comprehensive online price estimation tool provides prospective patients with individualized, real-time cost estimates for scheduled procedures or services based on their specific circumstances. For those who are insured, once they’ve selected their procedure or service and the facility they plan to visit, they are invited to enter their insurance plan and policy number. The calculator then provides as precise an estimate as possible for the charge for the procedure, the amount their insurance pays, and the amount the patient would be responsible for, based on their specific insurance benefits, coverage limits, and co-payment requirements. For those who are uninsured, the calculator provides the discounted self-pay price. This tool goes above and beyond the mandated disclosure of negotiated rates by providing easy-to-use functionality and patient-specific information, and in doing so, offers better access to the spirit of the rule as it was intended.”

How will knowing the cost help everyone?

“The main takeaway is we can’t really do anything about rising healthcare costs if we don’t know information on the prices,” Whaley said.

What if I can’t find the prices I’m looking for?

The Health and Human Services Department says hospitals can be charged up to $5,500 a day for not listing their prices. Nationwide, NBC News reports hundreds of hospitals have been issued warnings for not doing this but so far none have been fined.

The agency said they need more people to report the hospitals that are ignoring price transparency.

Here’s where you can file that complaint: CMS PT Complaint Intake Submission Form (qualtrics.com)